Product Line Engineering: Key Benefits

Key Benefits: Why Product Line Engineering?

Product Line Engineering (PLE) is important because of remarkable efficiencies it has shown in the engineering process.

The strategic and technical benefits delivered by PLE are impacting the way companies build, deliver, evolve, and compete with their product lines.

The Software Engineering Institute lists the following benefits associated with product lines:

  • large-scale productivity gains
  • decreased time to market
  • increased product quality
  • decreased product risk
  • increased market agility
  • increased customer satisfaction
  • ability to effect mass customization
  • more efficient use of human resources
  • ability to maintain market presence
  • ability to sustain unprecedented growth

Numerous PLE case studies have shown substantial measured improvements in time to market, cost, product quality, product line scalability, and productivity, compared to product-centric development. A few of the many published examples are:

  • Cummins, Inc., reports that as a result of building the software inside their engines using PLE, software projects that used to take a year now take about a week.

  • The U.S. Army expects to save $584 million in development costs by procuring a family of live training systems as a product line rather than a series of separate acquisitions.

  • MarketMaker Software AG reported that PLE led to a 2x-4x reduction in time to market, and a reduction in maintenance costs of around 60%.

  • Hewlett Packard reports that with a product line approach they were able to build products 10 times as complex, with 1/4 of the staff, in 1/3 of the time, and with 1/25 the number of bugs of earlier products.

  • HomeAway.com reported significant technical and business benefits from a PLE transition within 60 days. Major outcomes include reduced software footprint and hardware requirements, less complexity leading to greater control, more effective testing, reduced deployment times, and higher overall site product quality.

The success stories referenced on this site also contain examples of savings and improvement brought about by PLE.